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Energy crashing

Old 09-16-15, 07:33 AM
  #1  
lurch0038
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Energy crashing

On a mini tour I crashed hard and ran out of energy. I drank enough water to fill a pool but did not take in enough food to maintain my energy level.....lesson learned. I was able to stop at a store and ate 2 power bars, a banana and a pickle to recover.

There are legendary stories of Miguel Indurain and Michael Phelps eating 20K calories (not that I need 20K calories to make it to my destination) to compete or train but they had to do that eating donuts and other crappy foods which I do not want to do.

What strategies do you use to maintain your energy level on a long tour? Do you stop at time intervals or mileage or will I just need to listen to my body and adjust accordingly?

What foods do you eat during the ride to keep you going?

I prefer water but there are times when I need a sports drink but those sports drinks leave a stick taste in my mouth.....are there any other options that are better?

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-15, 07:58 AM
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On a multi day tour, I stop probably every 20 to 30 miles and eat and drink copiously. I drink at least 20 to 32oz of Gatorade or other sports drink throughout the day. Sometimes I will stop mid day and nap for 20 to 30 minutes. You should not let yourself get anywhere near the bonk stage as you have all day to ride. If you start to feel that way, simply stop and refuel.
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Old 09-16-15, 08:06 AM
  #3  
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Can you say Snicker Bar?

I usually just sort of mosey along when touring, so bonking is not much of an issue. But, when do I feel the need for a quick energy burst, out comes the Snicker Bar. Takes about 15 minutes for the effect. Good for about an hour.

I pedaled the century in Hotter N Hell this year on water, lytes, and 6 Snicker Bars. Did just fine. 16.2 mph on a Felt TT, fast for me.
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Old 09-16-15, 08:15 AM
  #4  
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I like to mix some electrolyte powder into my water, like this: Products | Emergen-C

I go through a 24 oz bottle every 30 miles or so.

I try to eat on a regular time interval, stopping every hour or maybe 45 minutes. Snacks I like are oat-o cereal, nut + dried fruit mix, a whole grain baguette.
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Old 09-16-15, 08:25 AM
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Well, this is interesting.

I've done a lot of different types of riding, and some of them require me to pay close attention to what and when I eat. But not touring. When touring I simply eat when hungry. Typically that will mean three or four meals a day but probably nothing but water on the bike. For me, touring - typically five or six hours a day on the bike - simply isn't high-intensity enough for me to resort to snickers bars, trail mix, energy drinks or whatever. I've never "bonked" on tour.

What does happen on a long tour is that my eating pattern changes. I don't make a conscious effort to change it, I just follow my appetite, and I find myself eating huge breakfasts, decent-sized lunches, and quite light evening meals. Whether that has anything to do with my not needing to snack, I couldn't say.
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Old 09-16-15, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
.......are there any other options that are better?
make lots of stops at gas stations, convenience stores, etc.
i try to stop at least every hour or so if there are towns/villages.

this is a typical snack break in thailand, where 7-11's can be found every 150 meters.
no water. i drink water while riding. i want soda or sugary iced tea.



don't forget evening snacks! a big dinner isn't enough. need a couple thousand
calories to get through a few hours of television watching in the hotel room.
(some of that is breakfast....)

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Old 09-16-15, 09:21 AM
  #7  
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I liked my Pub Lunch stops , along the way.
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Old 09-16-15, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Can you say Snicker Bar?
Yes, yes, yes! Similar in nutrition, calories, etc. to an "energy bar" but the Snickers tastes 10 times better!

Touring on an American road tour you can usually count on passing a store or diner every couple of hours. Stop, refill your water bottles, and show you're not a deadbeat by buying something (like a Snickers!).

Like Tolkien's hobbits, eat a second breakfast where possible.

Lunch is usually a diner or small town restaurant, mostly because it's easier and faster. If you've got a long day out west where you won't pass a small town, plan ahead with some combination of bagels, fruit, cheese, maybe bagged tuna or salmon, or whatever rocks your boat. Those are also good days to carry extra water, either 2 L collapsible flask(s) or bottles.

Just MHO, but gels aren't that useful because you'd have to carry and eat a bunch to get the calories you'll need.
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Old 09-16-15, 09:44 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
What strategies do you use to maintain your energy level on a long tour? Do you stop at time intervals or mileage or will I just need to listen to my body and adjust accordingly?
Personally I don't trust my body. I like to think I'd get into a healthy routine on an extended trip, and my body would start sending useful messages, but for the short trips I take, I have to take a more reasoned approach because my body is still adjusting from its normal, sedentary routine. I don't get super hungry on a long ride, and I am likely to "crash" at some point, especially if I have a destination in mind. It's easy for me to convince myself that I might as well get to my destination and then worry about eating. I have to force myself to eat after every couple of hours of riding, or I will pay for it down the road.

Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
What foods do you eat during the ride to keep you going?
I usually try to have some fruit handy. Usually a banana, pear, or apple. And some type of snack/granola/nut bar. I also stop at gas stations and find unhealthy junk to eat. But the other trick is that if I over eat, then not going to move very fast for a spell. That's okay, though. I don't move very fast in general, but my normal, slow pace combined with a food coma? Not pretty.

Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
I prefer water but there are times when I need a sports drink but those sports drinks leave a stick taste in my mouth.....are there any other options that are better?
Yeah, I'm not sure what the real deal is with electrolytes and all that nonsense, but there are times, especially when I've been sweating, when plain water doesn't seem to be what I need. I'll drink a gatorade or a sugary soda or juice usually, but I've also used Nuun tablets ( https://nuun.com/ ) in my water. I wouldn't say they taste good, but they're not as overly sweet as the other offerings, and they give a little flavor to the water and supposedly replenish some of the other things you're losing. Might be worth a try if you don't care for the normal sports drinks.
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Old 09-16-15, 10:34 AM
  #10  
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I use a handlebar bag with trail mix. Almonds, raisins, peanut m&m's. Also dried figs, apricots and beef jerky. And never pass up a good lunch, even at 11 am.
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Old 09-16-15, 10:39 AM
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On a 57 Day Tour.


Breakfast.



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Old 09-16-15, 11:33 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by lurch0038 View Post
There are legendary stories of Miguel Indurain and Michael Phelps eating 20K calories (not that I need 20K calories to make it to my destination) to compete or train but they had to do that eating donuts and other crappy foods which I do not want to do.
Do you mean crappy food as in unhealthy or as in you don't like them taste wise? (who doesn't like donuts!?)
Because when you're riding there are very few foods that can be considered crappy or unhealthy. Your body does not care what the carb source is, as long as it's getting carbs be it a gel or donut. While you are riding or having a small break from riding your insulin sensitivity is going to be higher, you are not going to experience an insulin spike (that doesn't happen during exercise, the body won't let it), and you are not going to experience a high blood glucose as all of the carbs you are able to absorb are being used in moving your body. This kept in mind donuts are actually pretty bomb. They do have a lot of fat but whatever, carbs are coming in.
So, eat something as carb rich as you want, as long it's during moving time. After you stop riding you might want to be more careful about what you eat. Also focus on getting enough protein throughout the day because your body is going to need it during the night.
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Old 09-16-15, 11:46 AM
  #13  
lurch0038
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
Do you mean crappy food as in unhealthy or as in you don't like them taste wise? (who doesn't like donuts!?)
Because when you're riding there are very few foods that can be considered crappy or unhealthy. Your body does not care what the carb source is, as long as it's getting carbs be it a gel or donut. While you are riding or having a small break from riding your insulin sensitivity is going to be higher, you are not going to experience an insulin spike (that doesn't happen during exercise, the body won't let it), and you are not going to experience a high blood glucose as all of the carbs you are able to absorb are being used in moving your body. This kept in mind donuts are actually pretty bomb. They do have a lot of fat but whatever, carbs are coming in.
So, eat something as carb rich as you want, as long it's during moving time. After you stop riding you might want to be more careful about what you eat. Also focus on getting enough protein throughout the day because your body is going to need it during the night.
I agree what person does not like donuts! The problem is that I feel awful when riding with crappy food in my belly. I guess the two athletes probably have zero percent body fat and have to add massive amounts of fuel to the body while I have a huge amount of "potential energy" stored on my body that I would prefer to use before I add from an external source....LOL!
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Old 09-16-15, 11:57 AM
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A couple of beers always works for me.
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Old 09-16-15, 12:45 PM
  #15  
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I try and eat mostly more complex carbs and stay away from too many simple sugars which put you on a energy-rollercoaster. The more you're fueling yourself with simple sugars the more difficult it becomes for your body to adapt to using fat reserves when the body's stored glycogens are depleted. Without ability to efficiently use fat reserves you're either gonna bonk or need a quick sugar fix.
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Old 09-16-15, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I try and eat mostly more complex carbs and stay away from too many simple sugars which put you on a energy-rollercoaster. The more you're fueling yourself with simple sugars the more difficult it becomes for your body to adapt to using fat reserves when the body's stored glycogens are depleted. Without ability to efficiently use fat reserves you're either gonna bonk or need a quick sugar fix.
The body doesn't know the difference between simple/complex carbs. It's all converted to glucose/glycogen anyways. Only difference is absorbtion rate.
Secondly, that whole sugar energy roller coaster is a myth. High blood glucose doesn't give you energy, it makes you tired and makes you feel like you have battery acid in your veins.
And thirdly, eating carbs while riding doesn't affect fat adaptation if you've been properly trained/fat adapted. Nor does eating carbs while riding cause insulin reactions or raise blood glucose. In fact during exercise the body extretes up to 60% less insulin than it normally does, even when you're stuffing donuts.

If sugar rush was a thing I would be the friggin superman!
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Old 09-16-15, 01:29 PM
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Tips!

#1 : Spread peanut butter onto your CLIF bars or other energy bars for extra calories, protein and energy.

#2 : Add copious amounts of olive oil to dinner meals like pasta, tuna fish, mac and cheese, etc.

#3 : Keep trail mix in your handlebar bag for quick access.

#4 : Chocolate (dark or milk) is high in calories, reasonably healthy for you if you're burning a lot of calories, and gives you a sugar boost.

#5 . First meal is most important. Eat a big breakfast, and snack all day till lunch and dinner.
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Old 09-16-15, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
#2 : Add copious amounts of olive oil to dinner meals....
Oh yeah. If I am cooking I don't leave home without it.
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Old 09-16-15, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
The body doesn't know the difference between simple/complex carbs. It's all converted to glucose/glycogen anyways. Only difference is absorbtion rate.
quite a difference, though...
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Old 09-16-15, 03:32 PM
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I drink water every 4 miles when cycling. It doesn't matter length of ride. A swallow will do if I am not thirsty. Otherwise I drink till content.
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Old 09-16-15, 05:35 PM
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Peanut butter and jam sandwiches are good to eat on the road. Easy enough to eat on the bike so I can keep on going without having to pull over and stop. I also like dried mangoes and trail mix type things. If you have a stove instant mashed potatoes are awesome to eat too. I try and stay away from too much greasy food since it tends to bother my stomach on a long hot ride but everyone is different. I like to experiment as I ride; Asian noodle dishes and pasta can also be good sources of food provided they aren't too greasy.

I also try to avoid drinking too much water, the body can only handle so much every hour... I would say my maximum is less than a litre an hour, probably closer to 750ml an hour in hot conditions.
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Old 09-16-15, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Well, this is interesting.

I've done a lot of different types of riding, and some of them require me to pay close attention to what and when I eat. But not touring. When touring I simply eat when hungry.
This ^^

Usually a decent breakfast
Then a mid-morning snack somewhere along the way
Then lunch
Then a mid-afternoon snack
Then a 'we've arrived at the destination' snack
Then dinner
Then a mid-evening snack


We usually stop at a grocery store around lunchtime and get the fixings for lunch ... rolls, meat, tomatoes and other veg, cheese, yogurt, fruit ... plus something for dinner ... plus something for breakfast ... plus snacks for a day or two.

We might also pull into a bakery or café or something along the way to have a coffee and snack of some sort.
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Old 09-16-15, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
The body doesn't know the difference between simple/complex carbs. It's all converted to glucose/glycogen anyways. Only difference is absorbtion rate.
Secondly, that whole sugar energy roller coaster is a myth. High blood glucose doesn't give you energy, it makes you tired and makes you feel like you have battery acid in your veins.
And thirdly, eating carbs while riding doesn't affect fat adaptation if you've been properly trained/fat adapted. Nor does eating carbs while riding cause insulin reactions or raise blood glucose. In fact during exercise the body extretes up to 60% less insulin than it normally does, even when you're stuffing donuts.

If sugar rush was a thing I would be the friggin superman!
The absorption rate IS the roller coaster that I'm referencing. Quick non-nutrient-rich simple-sugar absorption plus insulin spike followed by a fast burn leaves you empty and Superman grounded. Much better to eat nutrient rich FOOD in the form of complex carbohydrates that are stored in your muscles and organs for energy without the need for high(er) insulin production. Burning fat is good too when your stores are low.
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Old 09-16-15, 11:00 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
The absorption rate IS the roller coaster that I'm referencing. Quick non-nutrient-rich simple-sugar absorption plus insulin spike followed by a fast burn leaves you empty and Superman grounded. Much better to eat nutrient rich FOOD in the form of complex carbohydrates that are stored in your muscles and organs for energy without the need for high(er) insulin production. Burning fat is good too when your stores are low.
As I mentioned before, if you are in the process of riding or having a small break from riding, you will not experience almost any insuling reactions no matter what you eat. You could pour down pure glucose and it would not make a difference in your blood glucose or insulin levels. The body does not allow for insulin spikes while exercising because those can actually kill you. We would have not made it long as a species if insuling spikes during movement were a thing. Insulin production is severely reduced during exercise and it does not boost up until after you've stopped.
And one of the reasons why you can't make sugar spikes while exercising is the overall absorbtion capacity of the body. You can only absorb so much per hour and depending on effort levels it may or may not be enough to replace the glucose used by moving the body. Usually it isn't enough, so you see, there actually isn't a point for more insulin as the glucose that gets in your bloodstream isn't going to storage, it's going straight to use.

Also, you seem to think that complex carbs are stored that way. Only monosaccharides get through the intestine wall, ie. glucose. Glucose is the sole carb type the body uses, other carbs are unusable and need to be converted to glucose. So as an end result the body does not care about what the carbohydrates coming in are. It just converts everything to glucose. The difference in simple/complex carbs is that with complex the body needs to use more energy and time to break it down to glucose, but it still goes to the bloodstream as glucose.

I don't get this whole REAL FOOD thing. I mean it's probably good that you eat something, and it's actually pretty difficult to stuff all of the required protein down after the riding stops so eating a regular breakfast, lunch, dinner is always a good idea, but if the goal with mid ride snacks is to get glucose in, it doesn't matter one lick what it is. If it's REAL FOOD it just means it'll absorb slower. Depending on the protein/fat content it might absorb really slowly which isn't near optimal when trying to get carbs in. Gels are best at getting in the carbs, but I'll rather stick to donuts/other baked goods as they actually do have a pretty good nutritional profile for touring mid ride snack. Lotsa carbs, some protein and good amounts of fat to keep calorie intake up.
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Old 09-17-15, 02:26 AM
  #25  
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Between breakfast and evening meal:

PB and jelly sandwiches
Bananas
Trail mix (usually only towards the end of a long hard day)
Water

A baguette filled with dark chocolate works too

... and yeah, eat whenever you're hungry

Last edited by imi; 09-17-15 at 02:32 AM.
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